24 Days to go!

Spring

Yes I’m counting. My stomach is in knots. Can’t wait to see the lovely new kitchen and start buying furniture for our new home in the small sleepy village in Abruzzo.

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The Folks of Abruzzo

Villa-Santa-Maria-5Four weeks today, yes I’m still counting. I get weekly emails from my amazing contractors in Abruzzo, showing me the progress of my kitchen, my lovely staircase, and of course my new gas boiler. This may be oh so boring to some folks, but these emails keep me going through the long winter days at work.

I can’t believe how friendly the village folks from Colledimezzo are. I now have an English-speaking contact there. A wonderful gentleman who lives close to our new home. It may be our new home, but the old stone building is probably hundreds of years old. Some things are worth waiting for, and this is one of them. I can’t wait to become “one of the folks of Abruzzo”

Colledimezzo

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The warmth of the folks in Colledimezzo is amazing. I was sent this photo today in a message on Facebook. It’s from one of the only English-speaking people in the village. I was given his name as a helpful contact, and in his very first message he welcomed me, said how happy he was I’d made contact and sent me this beautiful photo of the village. I wish I were there now.

My Italian Kitchen

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http://www.abruzzoruralproperty.com/

No, this isn’t my kitchen, but I want the preparation for my first meal to look like this. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that back in August of 2017, I made a trip to Abruzzo with my daughter, to look at a place to buy. I made arrangements to view five houses while we were there. Three in Colledimezzo, one in Celezna and one in San Buono. In November my daughter flew back for the closing and we are now the proud owners of Via Badia No. 1 in Colledimezzo, or lovingly know to me as “The Old Olive Mill”.

The house is a beautiful stone building and has never been lived in because it is in fact a beautifully renovated olive mill. Anyway…since January the contractors, recommended to me by our wonderful Realtor Monia Di Guilmi, have been hard at work. Maurizio, the carpenter, send me photos of the kitchen yesterday. It looks amazing. I was so excited I wanted to immediately jump on a plane and shake his hand. In less than two months we’ll be there.

I’ve been managing contractors long distance, and I have to say I’m incredibly impressed. We’ve had the electricity connected and a gas line run to the house. All with the help of Google Translate and some very helpful people. Vincenzo has been amazing. Not sure exactly what he does, but my realtor refers to him as “The Engineer” and then there is Franco the builder.

When we get to meet up with these folks, we owe them all a drink! I feel like my new home has been built on friendship and love! Can’t wait to call it home.

 

2017 – The Incredible Journey

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Christmas is almost here and the year almost over. What an incredible year it’s been. I spent last Christmas in England with friends and family. Took a trip down memory lane. The New Years Eve fireworks in London were amazing.

July took me to Naples, Capri and the Amalfi coast. My yearning for a better, slower life in Italy became overwhelming.

August found me in Abruzzo looking at homes and discovering a beautiful area I’d never visited before. The Chieti province of Abruzzo is bursting with beautiful scenery in its perfect position between the mountains and the Adriatic. Sitting on a hilltop is Colledimezzo, my second home.

It’s a long time since I was this excited about anything. My whole family shares that excitement. Now from afar, I’m conducting an orchestra of contractors who are putting the final touches to our new family home. With the help of Monia, our realtor, we’re turning a lifetime of dreams into a future reality.

It may be a while before I retire, but I’m looking forward to it now. The year of 2017  turned out to be an incredible journey.

Happy New Year to everyone. Make your dreams come true!

Decisions!

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I’m not wishing my life away, but I am yearning to be in Abruzzo. I want to sip my morning Cappuccino and think, shall I drive to the mountains today? Or shall I dip my toes in the Adriatic?

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The Engineer of Colledimezzo

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The past week was exhausting, but happily productive. My daughter did an amazing job in Italy. She signed the deed on our new home. It took three hours to read the deed in both English and Italian. I was on stand by here in the US, to send any documents they needed, but on the whole, everything went smoothly.

Since then Joanna has worked with a non-english speaking builder to arrange to have the stairs finished in wood and a non-english speaking carpenter to get a quote for the kitchen. She’s driven all over the Chieti province choosing appliances, opening bank accounts, arranging for taxes to be paid and generally making the house a home. When we arrive in March we just have to start buying furniture.

Our realtor Monia, with Abruzzo Rural Property, is amazing. She referred Joanna to amazing folks. Gave contact info for the only English-speaking person in the village (Nino), and introduced her to the Engineer.

I met the Engineer in August, when we were viewing houses. Super nice guy. I understand he’s an engineer, but I’m not sure what that means in Italy. This man is taking care of everything for us. He has a couple of keys to our house. He’s removing some of the building materials that were left. He’s fitting a bigger boiler for us, letting folks into our home to make deliveries and work on the house. I wonder if each village has an engineer that takes care of things. I still have a lot to learn, but one thing is for sure, I’m going to enjoy learning it.

Roll on Retirement!

The Italian Cure!

Been a bit of a year for me. Started it off turning sixty, that was on January 17th. Less than a week later I drove myself to the emergency room because the pain in my stomach was unbearable. Kept rising higher and higher. I was scared it would stop my heart. Had stomach issues for a while and it all came to a head.

They kept me in, couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Totally out of it. Had a bad reaction to the pain meds they were pumping into me. Finally morphine worked, after X-rays, and tests they figured out my issue, no surgery required, they fixed me up and sent me home! Phew!

Since then I’ve been sluggish, lacking energy, couldn’t motivate myself to exercise…until now.

What changed? I discovered Abruzzo! I found and fell in love with the house in Colledimezzo and it has changed my whole life. Gave me something to work towards. Put a spring in my husband’s step and a smile on my daughter and son-in-laws face too. Now I’m not just working towards retirement, I’m working towards retirement in Italy, to putting together a welcoming home that friends and family will want to visit. We have five years to furnish it, pay off any debts we incur doing so, and then….look to a quieter life, a life in a small village in Abruzzo.

Shimmering Adriatic

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I was fifteen when I first went to Italy. I went with my mum and my crazy old Auntie Jennie. I’d dreamed of Italy from a very young age, and my mum had always promised she’d take me. Finally, she could afford it. I’ll never forget the thrill of stepping off the plane into the warm night air. I was in love with the country before I ever saw it and after my first visit it was firmly lodged in my heart. The two-week vacation wasn’t long enough and when we left, I cried.

As the jet climbed into the night sky I looked longingly back at the bejeweled coast line of the Adriatic and wished I didn’t have to go home.

My first visit was to Rimini, back in the early seventies. The photo above is a little further south. It’s the coastline of Vasto, taken on my last visit in August of this year. Now I can visit this beautiful place whenever I want to, and call it home. The Chieti Province of Abruzzo. My new home. It took me 45 years to realize my dream, it was worth the wait.

Autumn in Abruzzo

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Can’t wait to spend my first Autumn in Abruzzo. It looks spectacular.

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